City pizza branch sacked worker after she fell pregnant, tribunal hears

PUBLISHED: 06:00 23 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:22 24 August 2020

Papa John's pizza takeaway on Plumstead Road in Norwich. Picture: Google

Papa John's pizza takeaway on Plumstead Road in Norwich. Picture: Google


A Norwich fast food joint sacked a worker after she fell pregnant, having already failed to pay her the national minimum wage, a tribunal has heard.

An employment tribunal ruling published this week has revealed that a pregnant member of staff at Papa John’s, on Plumstead Road in Norwich, was relieved of her duties after missing shifts through illness.

And the tribunal found that the woman, who we have chosen not to name, was discriminated against by the franchise as a result of her being with child.

She was dismissed in January 2017 having missed three shifts the month prior as a result of sickness, though it is not clear whether it was on account of her pregnancy.

She was restored to work in January then dismissed, with the letter stating: “It’s nothing to do with you personally or any of your health conditions”.

The ruling however reads: “The tribunal believe that was a reference to the claimant’s pregnancy. The dismissal clearly was related to the claimant’s pregnancy.”

The tribunal also heard how the woman, who was below the age of 22 at the time, was being paid an hourly rate of just £3.87 - more than a pound beneath the then-minimum wage of £5.30 for a person her age.

Managers from two separate franchises she worked at were ordered to pay her compensation, however at an appeal it was found that just one would be liable to pay her.

In his ruling on the appeal, judge Martyn Barklem wrote: “The employment held that the claimant had been treated unfavourably as a result of her pregnancy; she was dismissed.

The appeal heard how the franchisee had denied knowledge of her pregnancy, but while under cross examination said: “I did not dismiss her just because she was pregnant”.

The judge said this was “something inevitably fatal to the defence of that aspect of the claim, as well as to his credibility”.

A spokesman for Papa John’s said: “We can’t comment on individuals, but we of course require our franchisees to comply with all applicable laws and with all our standards, which are designed to ensure that we offer excellent employment opportunities all around the UK.”

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